Planning and executing Urban Renewal projects throughout Israel

 Oleg Lukinsky , CEO of New Era Group (photo credit: EITAN TAL)
Oleg Lukinsky , CEO of New Era Group
(photo credit: EITAN TAL)

“During the first months of the pandemic,” says Oleg Lukinsky, Managing Partner and CEO of New Era Group, “we sat in our offices in the Hashahar Tower in Givatayim, and for four or five months, we were almost the only ones in the building.” Lukinsky’s company, which specializes in the development, planning, design, and construction of urban renewal projects, was designated as an essential business during the pandemic and remained open throughout the pandemic, while the hi-tech tenants in his building were closed for a significant amount of time. 

Lukinsky explains that New Era remained open throughout the pandemic and continued to build and sell apartments. The founders of the company who have vast experience in development of urban renewal projects worldwide, formed their operation in Israel in 2014. New Era’s projects are located in major cities across Israel, including Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Kfar Saba, Netanya, Bat Yam, Holon and Be’er Sheva. 

The company plans and reconstructs properties for existing buildings between fifty and eighty years old. The company participates in ‘Pinui Binui’ (evacuation and reconstruction) projects, in which some tenants remain while others leave, and new owners move in. They tear down the old structure, rebuild, and sell the apartments in the new building. The group views environmental sustainability as its guiding principle, caring for the environment throughout the construction process while implementing sustainability values into the building’s post-construction use. New Era reduces carbon emissions in its construction processes while complying with the most rigorous standards.

During the pandemic, says Lukinsky, the company sold a number of apartments via Zoom. “Before corona, there was a psychological barrier to purchasing via Zoom that the pandemic removed. Many things could be done remotely.” In recent months, most purchases have been made physically and not via Zoom. Planning meetings with municipalities were also held on Zoom, and while most meetings are now held face-to-face, virtual meetings do have a place in his business, he notes.

When the pandemic arrived in Israel in February 2020, sales at New Era dropped for about six months. “There was a great deal of uncertainty at the time,” recalls Lukinsky, who attributes the hesitation to several factors, including corona and concerns about the seemingly perpetual election cycle in Israel. But six months later, in early August, sales dramatically increased. The economy had recovered, exports grew, and sales rebounded. 

Lukinsky points out that in Israel, 71% of people own their apartments, and just 29% are renters. This, combined with the fact that the population grows by 2% each year, means that there is a growing, and constant need for more apartments. “In 35 years, we will double our population, and the need for apartments is growing. At that point, we will need to build a ‘second floor’ for the State of Israel,” he says, smiling. “People are buying apartments now because they may not have an opportunity to purchase later if the prices keep going up.”

Oleg Lukinsky predicts that 2022 will see continued demand for more apartments. Many companies delayed projects during the first half of the year due to uncertainty surrounding corona, he says, which has created a bottleneck. “The economy is strong, the shekel is the strongest currency in the world, and have momentum, but there are not enough apartments.” He points out that even if the government does announce a plan to create and market more apartments, its effect will not be felt for two or three years. 

In the meantime, New Era Group continues its steady work developing urban renewal projects, increasing residential housing in Israel.  

This article is taken from The Jerusalem Post Annual Executive Magazine 2021-2022. To read the entire magazine, click here.

This article was written in cooperation with New Era Group